Settling Into Another Commercial Building? Take These Sensible Security Precaustions

Construction & Contractors Articles

Relocating your business from one commercial building to another can be exciting, worrying and chaotic in equal measure -- but don't forget to evaluate the building's security while you're unpacking boxes and distributing updated business cards. Here are some important steps you can take to protect your assets at the new location.

Rekey or Replace All Locks

You have no idea how many employees of various previous commercial residents have passed through your new (or objectively speaking, not-so-new) facility's doors over the years. You may also have no idea whether the building is still on its original set of locks. This is a dangerous situation because it allows entry to any disgruntled, dishonest or deranged individual who happened to keep their set of company keys. To play it safe, have a locksmith alter every physical lock in the building so that only you and your current team have access.

The two primary options for changing locks are rekeying and total replacement. The cheapest solution is simply to rekey the locks, especially if you're dealing with a great many of them. This involves changing or adjusting the inner workings of the lock without actually removing the entire assembly. But if the locks are heavily worn, broken or the wrong type of locks to accommodate your specific needs (such as accessibility for disabled employees), then replacing those locks may prove a smart investment. You can work with a local locksmith company like Anderson Lock & Safe, LLC to know whether rekeying will work or if replacement is necessary. 

Install a Video-Monitored Security System

Many older commercial buildings have never been fitted with state-of-the-art video monitoring and security systems -- and even if your previous residents had such a system installed, they may well have carried it away with them or had the security provider dismantle it. But you don't want your facility to go without this kind of system. Strategically placed video cameras can provide positive identification of burglars or anyone else who commits criminal acts on your property, while password-based alarm systems can alert the security company and the local authorities as soon as there's a break-in, fire or other emergency.

Depending on the age of the building, you may need to get the electrical system inspected carefully to ensure that it can handle any additional load from the video monitoring and alarm system. Your installer may need to run the data cables through existing pathways such as vents and electrical conduits. Don't worry about hiding the video cameras from view -- visible cameras can actually serve as a  theft deterrent.

Protect Your HVAC Systems and Components

HVAC systems and components represent irresistible temptations for thieves, especially since some parts of these systems (such as compressors) have to be positioned outside the building. The real prize is copper, a material commonly used in air conditioning and heating system tubing. Recycling centers will pay good money for scrap copper because it can be recycled into so many different useful products and components.

If your facility was designed and built without this concern in mind, you may need to beef up security for your HVAC equipment. This is one instance in which hiring a night watchman or security guard can make good sense. If your HVAC equipment is sitting on a bare concrete slab at ground level, surround it with a locked, heavy-duty cage. Remove any wall-mounted ladders to make it tough for thieves to get to rooftop HVAC units.

Secure Your Trash

Even your trash compactor can work against you if you don't add some form of theft deterrent to this area of your new commercial base of operations. Even if your employees know that they're supposed to sort and shred sensitive documents, the odd intact item will inevitably find its way to the outdoor trash compactor. This is no problem if a legitimate trash pickup service hauls the documents straight to the incinerator -- but it's quite possible for a criminal to drive up in a convincing-looking vehicle and make off with that potential treasure. This kind of scam can and does happen, with criminals going so far in some cases as to add logos to their vehicles and wear "uniforms." 

Awareness is the name of the game when securing against this threat. If you've relocated your business to an unfamiliar area, do your homework and find out which services have always picked up garbage for the building in the past. Call them and ask them when they typically make their pickups. Find out what their uniforms, trucks and logos look like. Build a fence to keep intruders out of your receptacles until you're ready to move them into position for legitimate trash pickup.

Employing a few smart strategies now can prevent disastrous events down the road. Talk to your local locksmith, security system provider and other service professionals about how you can keep your business safe and secure!

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